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What I'm reading, and more

August 31st, 2003

A Universal History of Infamy by Jorge Luis Borges. Among other interesting features is the fact that Borges has drawn on sources including Gangs of New York (which was only recently published at the time Borges wrote) and Life on the Mississippi. I haven’t read either and also missed the film of Gangs of New York when it came out. So I’ll have to follow Borges’ pre-hyperlinks. I think he would really have loved the Internet.

I also went to see Life + Debt, a documentary about Jamaica and its troubles with the IMF. Insofar as there was a ‘line’, it was the standard anti-globalisation story of farmers being driven out of business by import competition and so on. A couple of things struck me about the film. One was that Jamaica seemed to have tried everything (self-sufficiency, free trade zones, general liberalization) and nothing seemed to work. So while the analysis implicit in the film was inadequate, it didn’t seem to me that the IMF had any better answers.

The other point, discussed previously in Ozplogistan, is how bad economists look on film. The film gave a lot of time to Stanley Fischer and wasn’t obviously unfair to him, but he came across dreadfully nevertheless.

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